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11 Smart Tips for Sustainable Website Design

Boost your brand’s eco-credentials by adopting sustainable website design and practices that align with your company’s green goals.

The Gist

  • Climate urgency. Businesses must address the sustainability and carbon footprint of their digital projects to meet ethical, customer and regulatory demands.
  • Sustainable strategy. Aligning website projects with company sustainability goals enhances credibility and customer engagement, avoiding “greenwashing.”
  • Digital green steps. Implementing measures such as sustainable hosting and emission offsetting can significantly reduce the environmental impact of websites.

The climate crisis isn’t going away, and things are only just going to get worse. It is inevitable that increasingly businesses will need to consider the sustainability and carbon footprint of everything they do, not only to meet ethical concerns and customer expectations, but also to meet regulatory and reporting requirements.

While that latter scenario may feel like it is potentially way off, there are things you can do now to reduce the digital carbon footprint of projects such as websites and apps. Let’s take a look at developing sustainable website design and other practices. 

The practices around making digital projects more sustainable is still nascent. One of the main issues is that it is difficult to accurately measure the digital carbon footprint of, say, a corporate website. While this is likely to get easier as the business demand for better reporting increases, you can still make a lot of progress today.

Reducing or minimizing the carbon footprint of a digital project is best done in the planning stages when you’re actually mapping out the requirements and the roadmap. But there are also tactics you can apply to an existing website. 

In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the ways you can make a difference. Although we are focusing on websites, many of the points are also relevant to other digital projects, such as an app, an intranet or other related channels.

Sustainable Website Design for Businesses

1. Align Your Project With Your Company’s Sustainability Goals

Most organizations have some sort of commitment to being more sustainable. Some may have detailed policies in place or specific targets they want to reach, such as reaching net zero by a particular date.

It’s important to align your website project with your company’s wider sustainability goals. This will give it more credibility with both customers and internal stakeholders and enable you to leverage approaches already in place, such as offsetting your carbon footprint with activities such as tree planting. With this in mind, it is also important to make sure your project is genuinely sustainable and not regarded as a “greenwashing” exercise.

2. Measure Your Digital Carbon Footprint

Clearly a major element of being sustainable will involve measuring your carbon footprint on an ongoing basis. You can then assess the progress you are making, particularly if you measured the impact of your old site.

However, as already observed, tools that measure your carbon footprint are not necessarily mature, and there can be questions about their accuracy. However, there are lots of free tools out there, (all easily Googled) which can be easily used. Even if the process around measuring is largely manual and done only on a quarterly basis, anything that shows progression and intent around sustainability is a plus.

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